In the past year AI has had a major influence on many different industries and you may be wondering how artificial intelligence impacts the accounting industry? In 2024, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming businesses across all industries by automating processes and revealing important insights from data. For accounting firms in particular, adopting AI tools and solutions is now a means for remaining competitive.
As AI continues to become more prevalent in the next year, accounting practices that do not begin implementing AI risk falling behind competitors in their efficiency. In this article, we’ll explore ways accounting firms can take advantage of AI to increase their efficiency, insights, and competitiveness.
Why is AI relevant for accounting in 2024?
AI has many applications for the accounting industry. It has the ability to automate manual and repetitive tasks while also being able to detect patterns in financial data. As a firm, your team is likely to spend countless hours each week performing routine activities like transaction classification, monthly reporting, and bank feed reconciliations. AI tools have the power to streamline these tasks resulting in more time for skilled accounting professionals to focus on more value-add analysis, strategic planning, and other tasks.
Additionally, AI has the capability to rapidly analyze large volumes of financial information and highlight any errors that may indicate potential fraud. Beyond automation of internal processes, AI allows accounting firms to derive data-driven insights about client business needs that enable a far more personalized approach. The analytical capabilities of AI enables accountants to have become even more strategic in their advisory.
Getting started with AI
Implementing AI to your accounting firm for the first time will require some planning. It’s important to first assess your current workflows to identify processes that can be automated. Identifying tasks that are repetitive, routine, and require analyzing large amounts of data are the perfect places to consider applying AI tools.
Depending on the scale of your firm and long term goals, consider developing customized in-house AI tools to be tailored to your firm’s needs. While internally created tools allow for greater control, there are still many fintech AI tools that enable quick integration.
It’s always important to analyze your accounting firm’s data infrastructure prior to implementing new technology, especially an AI strategy. Ensure your firm’s data formats are structured, clean, and standardized to feed into algorithms. APIs and schemas may need to be updated to consolidate information across systems.
Implementing AI is not an easy task but with a strategic plan in place you can actively be on the path towards increased productivity and insights in your firm. The accounting industry will soon see an increase in AI-enabled firms and 2024 is the perfect time to implement these tools.
The practical applications of AI for transforming your accounting firm are vast. AI tools can alleviate tedious and manual data entry that often leads to increased errors. It can be replaced by intelligent automation that continues to learn as it goes.
Reporting and analytics
With AI, reporting and analytics can become dynamic visualizations providing real-time visibility into money flows. This can be made possible through software such as Polymer which uses AI to extract important data and create dashboards and visualizations using their native Poly AI.
ChatGPT for accounting
Research that once required digging though reference materials can now be accessed quickly through using ChatGPT for accounting purposes. Additionally, ChatGPT can aid your firm in financial analysis. It can analyze your data and search for inaccuracies, suggest improvements and provide a risk assessment.
It’s also possible to use ChatGPT to search FAQs relevant to accounting firms. By adding these questions and answers to your site, you’ll be able to provide answers to common questions your clients are searching for, resulting in increased searchability.
SEO and content
Increase your firm’s SEO ranking and searchability through published web content based on frequently asked questions and client needs. Copy.ai automates blog post creation through providing full length blogs in a matter of minutes. You’re able to choose your own topic and create content in different formats by choosing your tone of voice and additional information. Once the content is generated you’re able to make changes to personalize it to your liking before including it as published content on your site.
There are also even more AI tools that enable personalized newsletters, targeted marketing, and other customized client communications. The benefits of AI are countless, it’s important to consider the areas that AI would contribute the most enrichment for your business.
Over the past few years there has been an influx of accounting tools and software that have created their own native AI tools. For example, Quickbooks Online has AI powered features available to all users with their own Quickbooks AI solution. It has the capability to extract key figures and actionable items from client data and arrange it in a simple dashboard. These can then be downloaded and shared with the client.
This helps save you the time it would take to manually sift through reports to extract these insights on your own. These benefits show why AI implementation will have significant effects on your firm in 2024.
Challenges of AI and solutions
While integrating AI has a variety of benefits, accounting firms can encounter obstacles that diminish ROI if not addressed early. Here are some of the challenges that can arise during the process of implementing AI:
- Unprepared staff: It is possible that your staff has little exposure to AI technology which could result in a learning gap. It’s important for staff or that these changes will have a direct impact on their role and responsibilities.
- Poor planning: Applying new technology without significant planning could lead to many issues such as migration problems which could lead to more manual work down the line. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the systems you adopt. Consider consulting a professional to aid you in planning.
- Data security threats: Adopting new AI solutions will oftentimes require integration. This may require integration of historical data that deals with sensitive client data. It’s important to prevent unauthorized data access or data usage by understanding the data and privacy policies of new AI tools before implementing them. This ensures your firm is able to remain compliant in client financial data privacy.
With the right support, the advantages of AI can be secured while avoiding the problems that can decrease its impact.
Building an AI ready accounting team
Preparing your existing team
One way to ensure the success of applying AI to your accounting firm in 2024 is to prepare your team well ahead of time. In order to do this you may want to consider your long term goals for your accounting firm. When considering your strategy you may even want to consider a change management plan will also be beneficial especially if you have plans of expansion or internal restructuring taking place.
Because of the ever-changing nature of the fintech landscape, you want to create a plan that can adjust according to improved technology.
Expanding your team
Consider hiring an Accounting Technologist to guide you on this. The addition of an Accounting Technologist to your team during this transition is invaluable because of their expansive knowledge on different apps and tools to help streamline many processes. They can also manage aid in managing both technical developers and accounting teams while maximizing the value of AI tools. They may even have experience in preparing a team of accountants for shifts in the technology and how it impacts various roles in your firm.
Accounting Technologists will also be able to make other recommendations and adjustments to build to your current tech stack and increase efficiency in your accounting teams. It’s important to give team members as much preparation as possible for the upcoming changes you implement. With your team on board, prepared and trained in the new AI tools or software, you’ll be able to successfully improve your firm’s workflows.
Key takeaways on artificial intelligence and accounting
Artificial intelligence and accounting go hand in hand to improve many practices in the daily life of accountants. AI tools will continue to have a positive impact on accounting firms, providing the benefits of automation and efficiency. AI implementation will continue to help your firm remain competitive in the industry. Leveraging AI in 2024 will provide your firm with a number of benefits both in the present and in the long term.